As soon as children discover the Internet, they want to learn how to create a website. Help your kids create a website in 8 easy steps, even if you have no idea how to get started.
1. Choose a Topic
What would your child like her website to cover? She doesn't have to choose a specific topic, but having a theme in mind can give you both direction on web design and content to create.
Sample topic ideas include:
- Life in Her City
- Poetry and Stories
- Reviews of Books or Products
- Sports Team
- TV Shows
- Video Games
Her website theme is only limited by her imagination.
2. Select a Web Host
Think of a web host as the neighborhood where your child's home (her website) will live. A free web host has advantages like no cost to you and a built-in what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) web editor for easy maintenance. Disadvantages range from pop-up and banner ads you can't get rid of to an unfriendly URL, such as http://www.TheFreeWebsiteURL/~YourKidsSiteName.
Paying for a web host service gives you more control over everything, including the ads you want on the site, if any, as well as selecting your own domain name. For example, http://www.YourKidsSiteName.com.
3. Learn Web Design
Teaching your kids how to create a website can also be a learning experience for you. If you understand basic HTML, cascading style sheets (CSS) and graphics software, you and your child can design your own website together from scratch.
Another option is to use a free template for your child's site and learn web design as time allows. That way, you can get a site online quicker and work on a redesign as you begin learning the fundamentals of web design.
4. Decorate the Site
Your child's website is coming along nicely. It's time to decorate the place.
Clip art is a great decoration for kids' websites. Let your child take personal photos just for her site too. Snapping pictures of the family pet, getting creative with photography and scanning pictures she draws or paints will keep her excited about updating her website.
5. Start a Blog
Take learning how to create a website even further. Teach her how to blog.
There are many reasons to start a blog. Not only will she enjoy sharing her opinion, she'll also start to think more about the topics she wants to write about while developing her writing skills further with every blog post.
It doesn't matter if she's writing a blog post about the skirt her favorite celebrity wore to a red carpet event or explaining the hamster's journey from his cage to mom's apple pie cooling on the windowsill. Blogging will give her a creative outlet she'll be enthusiastic about because the blog is all hers.
6. Add Goodies to the Site
Now you're ready to add some extra goodies to the site. A website calendar can display her birthday and other upcoming events she finds important. Installing a guestbook allows visitors to say hello and leave their comments on the site. She can use Twitter to share family updates in 140 characters or less.
Other fun add-ons include a virtual pet adoption center, a quote of the day or even the weather forecast. There are so many add-ons, she'll have a hard time narrowing down her list.
7. Keep Your Family Safe Online
Everyone in the world can potentially reach your child's website if it's public. Keep your child's identity safe with a few extra steps.
If you want to keep strangers out completely, password protect her site. This security measure will require visitors to enter a username and password of your choice before they can see any page of your child's site. Only give the login details to close friends and family. Be sure to tell them you don't want the login information given out.
If you want your child's site to be publicly viewable, meaning anyone can look at her website without logging in, set up some basic internet safety rules for her to follow before she begins publishing family photos online as well as personal information.
Monitor what she's posting online and stay on top of it. Depending on the type of content and your personal preferences, you may ask her not to use her real name, post her location or publish any pictures of herself to her website.
8. Consider Other Options
Does the thought of managing a website not appeal to your child or simply feel too overwhelming for you? Consider other options so that she can express herself without having to maintain a whole website.
Join Twitter and she can express herself in 140 characters or less. Sign up for a free blog hosted by Blogger or WordPress, select a free template and you're up and running in minutes. Set up a Facebook page where friends and family can connect with your child. Take extra precautions to protect your child by creating a password only you know, logout of the sites every time you use them and make it a family project that you maintain together.